It’s a Texas showdown this Thursday, as the Dallas Mavericks and the San Antonio Spurs duel for their respective first games since the All-Star break. Who gets the W?
Catch this game live on Thursday, March 11, at 9:30 AM, Manila time
HOME TEAM: Dallas Mavericks (18-16, 9-8 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Luka Doncic
- PG: Jalen Brunson
- SF: Josh Richardson
- PF: Dorian Finney-Smith
- C: Kristaps Porzingis
The Mavericks entered the All-Star break with some nice momentum, having won all their last three assignments and five of their last six. The only blemish on Dallas over that stretch was a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 26, before the Mavs defeated the Brooklyn Nets and the Orlando Magic, both on the road, and the Oklahoma City at home.
Although the Mavs managed to go over the .500 mark with that hot stretch, they are still only 15-19 against the spread overall this season. Nevertheless, the Mavs are hoping to carry over their current success into the second half of the season, beginning with a rematch against the Spurs. In their 122-117 win over San Antonio last January, the Mavs showed the kind of offense Dallas fans wish they could put up more consistently this season. Luka Doncic scored 36 points, while Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kristaps Porzingis each had 21.
The Mavs defeated San Antonio despite missing Dorian Finney-Smith, Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell, and Josh Richardson, who are all expected to go out and play this Thursday. The Mavericks have covered the spread in four of their last five games.
ROAD TEAM: San Antonio Spurs (18-14, 9-4 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Dejounte Murray
- SG: Lonnie Walker IV
- SF: DeMar DeRozan
- PF: Keldon Johnson
- C: LaMarcus Alridge
DeMar DeRozan can’t wait to get back on the court after feeling slighted by his omission from the All-Star game. DeRozan played well in the loss to Dallas earlier this season, scoring 29 points on 8-of-20 shooting from the field and 13-of-16 shooting from the foul line.
Although the Spurs are not among the elites in terms of getting to the charity stripe, DeRozan’s game is tailor-fit to get a bunch of freebies on offense against Dallas, which is 23rd in the league in personal fouls percentage (18.0%).
DeRozan aside, the Spurs are looking forward to what Dejounte Murray can do on the court against Dallas after he played all but one minute of last January’s meeting with the Mavs. Murray hurt his foot in the first minute of that game and didn’t return, leaving DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge to carry the bulk of the offense.
With Murray back, the Spurs are getting their second-leading scorer and a key defensive piece. Murray is averaging 15.8 points and 1.6 steals per game this season. San Antonio finished the first half of the season with an 18-14 record against the spread.
Luka Doncic and a healthier Mavs team will smother the Spurs on both ends of the floor and score a 126-118 win.